But when the person who's supposed to be our best friend, the person to whom we're married, hits a rough patch, our attitude is often quite different.
We metaphorically stand back with our arms crossed in front of our chest, and say, "Suck it up. Get over it."
If we don't say it we think it.
What gives us the privilege of holding our mates to higher standards than we do our friends? And to higher standards than we hold ourselves?
I think it's partially fear. Fear that the person we need as a support in bad times isn't as strong as we think we need them to be, and that when one day we really need support, they won't be able to give it.
It's a weird kind of compliment, when you think about it.
The other component is a sort of contempt for the familiar; most of us grew up looking past where we were, to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Our towns weren't big enough; we had to find the wide world.
Our jobs weren't enough; we needed promotion, and more challenge (and money, and prestige).
And our mates are nothing if not familiar. We've heard their troubles and discouragements before, and we're just a little tired of it.
But we are the ones they need most, when the chips are down, and when the world seems bleak.
And sometimes, when we can't do our best for our 'other half', we've got to step back, and treat them with the grace we'd reserve for an honored guest.
Treat them like someone who's invited, and welcomed, and will only stay for a little while.
Because that's really what our mates are. Guests from Heaven, and it's there to which they'll one day return.
Do you sometimes have trouble being encouraging, when your spouse is depressed or lost? What do you do to become effective again?